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The tooth is held in jawbone or alveolar bone. The lower bone is known as the mandibular and the upper bone is the maxillary. The root of the tooth attaches to that bone. The part of the tooth that you can see in the mouth is known as the crown. The part that you can't see that's hidden in the gum, is known as the root and where these two meet is known as the neck of the tooth.

The tooth itself is made up of several layers. The outer, hard, white, shiny part of the tooth is enamel, one of the hardest substances known to man. Underneath that hard enamel is a softer type of bone known as dentine, which encases the centre of the tooth, the nerve canal, which is often known as the root canal. This contains all your nerves and blood vessels. When you get an infection it's this part of the tooth that becomes swollen and that's when you get dental pain. The very bottom of the root has a small hole in it known as the apical foramen. When you have a dental abscess, it's because the root canal has got infected and the pressure building up is released through that apical foramen, forming your dental abscess. The tooth is held in place by tiny little fibres that are like shock absorbers. They help hold the tooth in place and also reduce the trauma or pain in your jaw from chewing.